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The Social Psychology of Computer Viruses and Worms

Jonathan Rusch
June 2002

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When the defenders of Troy first saw the Trojan Horse outside their walls, legend has it, the gods on Mount Olympus did not compel them to bring it inside the city. The Trojans' decision to do so, though wholly voluntary, was strongly influenced by the Greek army's clever manipulations of their perceptions. The Greeks not only hauled the horse by night to the gates of Troy, but spread a rumor t hat the horse had a benign purpose: appeasement of the war goddess Minerva to ensure a safe return home. They also sailed all of their warships away from Troy to a hidden anchorage. They chose, however, to leave behind one Greek, named Sinon. Situating himself where he would be found easily by Trojan forces, Sinon pretended to have escaped wrongful imprisonment after being designated for sacrifice by his own people.

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